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Effete Easterners Confused About Crocs—and Geography

Slate, the online magazine known for highbrow pondering of lowbrow culture, has finally discovered Crocs. Meghan O'Rourke weighs in on the comfy-ugly clown shoes in this screed, with all the usual tsk-tsking about garish colors, podriatic caveats, soaring stock prices and I-hate-Crocs backlash among the fashionistas. It's familiar ground to anyone who caught our in-depth examination of all things Croc two years ago.

But one bit of weirdness in O'Rourke's appraisal gives pause. After explaining that the home of Crocs is Boulder (actually Niwot), she surmises that the first customer "was probably a Pacific Northwesterner who liked to boat or garden," and that the shoe "fits in with the Northwest's typically green and mildly counterculture ethos." As she notes in an aside, "this is the region, after all, that brought us grunge."

Right. Seattle, Boulder—what's the difference, really? It's all part of that great western wasteland out there, ripe for sweeping generalizations by the commissars of culture who keep house within a commuter-train ride of Manhattan. The idea that a hideous boat shoe would find its base in landlocked Colorado is a bit too inexplicable, perhaps, for the likes of Slate. Excuse me; I have to go watch Frasier, then find a new drummer for my grunge band. -- Alan Prendergast

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts